Kolkata: Standing firm on her earlier resolve, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stated on Friday that she will only contest from Nandigram constituency in the upcoming Assembly polls.
Earlier, there were reports that she will contest from her home constituency, Bhawanipore, too. But, having thought things over, she has abdicated the seat for her close aide Sovandeb Chattopadhyay.
With that, she has taken the fight straight into the BJP camp, daring not just ‘turncoat’ Suvendu Adhikari, but the entire saffron establishment.
Nandigram is a stronghold of Adhikari and Mamata is his former mentor; Adhikari, who has been appropriated by the BJP, virtually steered the Trinamool Congress's 2011 campaign that focused on the farmers’ fight in Nandigram, where land being taken over for an industrial project.
Such is the hype around Nandigram -- where the outcome could be the defining moment in West Bengal politics -- that even CPM is yet to finalize its candidate for the hot seat. Addressing a press conference at the CPM headquarters, party chairman Biman Bose said that they have not finalized their Nandigram candidate, as the constituency is going to witness a 'clash of Titans.'
Reading out the candidates’ list, the TMC supremo said that they had reserved 48% seats for general candidates, 7% for OBCs, 27% for SCs, 6% for ST candidates and 12% for Muslims. 82% seats had gone to male candidates and 18% seats to females.
“We will play, ‘Khela Hobe’. The people of West Bengal will rule Bengal. ‘Outsiders’ will not rule the state. The people know the work put in by the Trinamool,” said Banerjee while announcing the names of the actors who had joined the ruling party, adding to the glamour quotient.
Asked whether the election will be a tough nut to crack, the TMC supremo said that it will be a ‘smiley election, implying that it would go their way like a breeze.
The West Bengal BJP had tried to raise the sweepstakes by taking to social media and challenging the Chief Minister to contest from Nandigram only and not also from Bhawanipore. Mamata has granted their wish.
Talking to the Free Press Journal, West Bengal Power Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said that he is overwhelmed that the TMC supremo has chosen him to contest from her pocket borough.
“I am a local person. Our family is residing here for over 125 years. I know the pulse of the people and I am not an outsider. So, we hope to mark our victory from this constituency,” said Sovandeb.
Meanwhile, West Bengal BJP again took to twitter and asserted that fearing defeat, the TMC supremo was not contesting from Bhawanipore.